Tortuous Trafficking: Nanoparticles Traverse the Blood Brain Barrier


nine panels of fluorescent branches and spots

Joelle Straehla and Jeffrey Wyckoff


nine panels of fluorescent branches and spots

Joelle Straehla, Jeffrey Wyckoff, Paula Hammond
Koch Institute at MIT

Fighting brain cancer is more than finding the right treatment; drugs must also be delivered safely and efficiently. The Hammond Lab designs nanoparticles to carry therapeutic agents through the branching blood vessels that make up the protective blood-brain barrier.

Live video tracking captures the passage of particles (seen here as speckled dots) out of the vessels and into the brain. While Hammond Lab researchers experiment with different formulations, using snapshots like these as a guide, their collaborators in the Yaffe Lab search for the most effective drug combinations to be transported across the barrier to their intended destination.


Joelle Straehla shares the story behind her award-winning image.